Opinion / Masterclasses, Coaching and Teaching

Speeches for Leaders

This has arrived from central Europe: Back in February you held a lecture which I attended and from where I departed with a signed copy of your book. Above your signature it said “Anyone can hold a good speech, if they read this book”. Two weeks later I finished the […]

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Public Speaking: The Power of Contrast

I’ve been doing some webinars on public speaking technique: helping people write words for speaking, not words for reading.  One of the things I’ve learned is the Power of Contrast. One exercise involved drafting a short speech (some four minutes max) on The Main Problem facing the UN, as if […]

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(Not) Using Quotations in Speeches

My book Speeches for Leaders quoted from The Dullard’s Guide to International and Diplomatic Speechwriting on starting a speech with platitudes about the history of bilateral relations: It doesn’t matter much which examples the speechwriter pulls out from the bran tub of history for this purpose. A couple of solid, obvious, and […]

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Women and Public Speaking

Here’s a question. In fact two questions. Do women qua women face specific public speaking problems? And if so, what’s the best way to tackle them? Plenty of people make the case that yes, women DO face public speaking problems/challenges that men don’t face. This piece proclaims itself as offering […]

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How (Not) to Blackmail Batman

Question. You somehow stumble on Batman’s secret identity. You conclude that you’d like to profit from this situation. How best to get a good result for yourself? How might this work from the point of view of negotiation technique? Here is one approach. It does not end well. The text of […]

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Public Speaking: From Good to Amazing

So here I was in hot Abu Dhabi explaining some finer points of public speaking technique to the excellent colleagues of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy: Nice body language, intensity and eye contact haha. The chart behind me is intended to convey the Core Idea of my approach. In looking at […]

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To Tajikistan and Back Again

Back again from my sundry peregrinations of recent weeks, from Vienna to Gdansk to Warsaw to Prague to Dushanbe to Abu Dhabi to Zvolen (Slovakia), with odd groggy moments at home in between. This has been the longest gap in postings here since the blog started. But somehow I just […]

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Helen Clark: The ‘Official’ Version?

One of the things I urge wannabe speechwriters to consider is this: what is the ‘official’ version of any serious speech? It turns out that this is not so easy to answer as you might think. The classic answer is ‘the version on the website – that’s what they want […]

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More Stupid Words

Remember Stupid Words? multi-dimensional challenges inherently a context-specific approach prevention-oriented actions implement a synergistic framework increasingly interconnected world integrated capacity-building measures participatory processes overarching framework contextually relevant tractorisation globalised world Here is an article at Open Democracy that (alas) epitomises the problem: CSOs also need support in empowering citizens to […]

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The Wisdom of Young Speechwriters

A passing BBC journalist called me to ask for some quotes on why President Obama and his wife Michelle are such great public speakers. A lively discussion ensued on what in fact makes someone a ‘great public speaker’. Are the Obamas excellent speakers who too often give poor speeches? She […]

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